Stargate Horizons


Daniel tried to get back to work but gave up after a few minutes.  Making a sudden decision, he headed to the elevator.  Whether it was an oversight on the part of General Hammond or a deliberate omission, Daniel was able to leave the base via the door at the top of the mountain without anyone stopping him.  He found a hidden spot and took a seat on a tree stump.

Daniel gazed up into the trees, listening to the sounds of the birds.  A high-pitched cry attracted his attention, and he looked up to see an eagle soaring above.  Daniel envied its freedom.

"Did you know this was going to happen, Oma?" Daniel asked the air.  "When you made me human again, did you have any idea that I'd no longer be . . . normal?"

The minutes passed by slowly as Daniel sat in silence, wishing that he could just go away somewhere and forget everything.

Daniel had no idea how long he'd been sitting there when he suddenly realized that the sun was several inches closer to the horizon.  At that same moment, he got the feeling that he was no longer alone.  He waited for the person to approach.  When, after a few seconds, no one appeared, he said, "I'm not going to knock your head off, you know."

Teal'c came into view.  "Why would I believe that you would remove my head, Daniel Jackson?"

"Uh . . . no reason.  So, did Jack send you out looking for me?"

"He did not.  When we were unable to find you, O'Neill questioned those on guard duty and learned of your location.  He, Major Carter and I then decided which of us would come to speak with you."

"Did you draw straws?"

"No straws were used.  I volunteered to speak with you since I, more than O'Neill and Major Carter, understand your feelings in this matter."

"Yeah, I guess you do, don't you.  In a way, you've been a prisoner ever since you came to Earth.  You haven't been allowed to get a place off-base, and during the first couple of years or so, you weren't allowed to leave the base unless at least one of us was with you."  Daniel looked up at him.  "How did that make you feel, Teal'c?"

"I understood the reason why my freedom was restricted.  In the beginning, it was a matter of trust and because of the Goa'uld I carried.  Later, trust was no longer an issue, but the Goa'uld was still within me.  Though it is no more, I still bear the mark of its former presence.  The scar of my larval pouch is fading, and, in time, it will be completely gone.  Then it may be that I will no longer have to live on the base."

Daniel rose to his feet.  "Do you think my government has a good reason to take away my freedom?"

"No.  The ones who do this are like a mother who holds her child too tightly in her arms for fear that he will fall if she allows him to walk.  You have managed to survive many things, escaped from dangers that most people of this world could never imagine, yet, now, they suddenly feel that you are in grave danger if you are not within their reach at all times.  Such a belief is illogical since, because of this power you now possess, you are even more capable of defending yourself from threats than you were in the past."

"Good point.  Maybe I'll use that one on the president."

"O'Neill has told me that, if your government forces you to leave the SGC, you intend to join the Tok'ra."

"Well, I'm not sure about that.  I don't know how it would work out.  We have a formal alliance with them, so, if I joined the Tok'ra, my government might insist that they give me back, and the Tok'ra would probably do it to avoid trouble."

"What will you do, then?"

"I really don't know, Teal'c.  There are other planets that I could go to, but I'm not willing to just hide somewhere.  Somehow, I'd have to figure out a way that I could keep fighting the Goa'uld or at least do something to help others.  That's the main reason why I'd leave, so that I could keep doing what I have been."

There was silence for several seconds, then Teal'c said, "If you intend to continue in your fight against the Goa'uld, then I will join you."

Shocked, Daniel turned around to stare at him.  "What?  Teal'c, what are you saying?  You'd leave the SGC and come with me?"

"The fight against the Goa'uld and the liberation of my people are the reasons for my continued presence in the SGC.  You have knowledge and abilities that are a great asset in those endeavors, and I do not want to see them lost.  Together, we could be a formidable force.  Also, you are my friend, and I could not allow you to fight alone."

"Wow.  I, uh . . . I don't know what to say."

"There is no need for you to say anything, Daniel Jackson."

"Thank you, Teal'c.  That means a lot to me."

The Jaffa inclined his head.  "Perhaps we should return to the base.  O'Neill was showing impatience at your lengthy stay out here."

The human and the Jaffa headed back down into the bowels of the mountain.  Jack and Sam were both in Daniel's office when he and Teal'c got there.  The two Air Force officers studied Daniel's face closely, their concern plain to see.

"Daniel?" Sam inquired worriedly.

"I'm all right, Sam, just . . . frustrated."

"Frustrated?" Jack repeated.  "If I were you, I'd want to break something."

"Well, yeah, that too, but I don't think that breaking things would help much, Jack."

"Oh, I don't know about that.  Personally, breaking Morrison's and Rice's faces would make me feel really good right about now.  Are you sure you couldn't do something like make the elevator suffer a catastrophic failure while they're on it?"

Daniel gave the older man a look.  "Why don't we just go with spontaneous human combustion?  Easier to clean up and less damage to repair."

"Hey, works for me."

They all fell silent, wishing there was a way to make the two men disappear, preferably one that didn't involve death or serious bodily injury.

"Sir, is there any way that the general would give me and Teal'c permission to go with you to the White House?" Sam finally asked.

Jack shook his head.  "I already asked.  He said that he didn't want the president to feel too pressured, which he believes would happen if all of us went to state our case."

"Then what if we just came with you on the flight?  Teal'c and I could wander around D.C. for a few hours."

Jack stared at his second in command, hearing the plea in her voice.  He didn't know why, but it was pretty clear that Sam really wanted to go with them.

"Well, how about if we go ask him, Major?" he said.

A couple of minutes later, Jack and Sam were on their way to Hammond's office.  The moment they were on the elevator, which was empty except for them, the colonel turned to the major.

"Okay, Carter.  Wanna tell me what's up?"

"Up, sir?" Sam responded innocently.

"Why are you so keen on going with Daniel and me to D.C.?"

"I . . . just thought that Daniel might need the moral support, sir."

Jack peered at her.  "You, know, Carter, lying to a superior officer is a court-martial offense."

Sam didn't respond for a couple of seconds, then she let out a sigh.  "I hate feeling helpless, sir.  I always have.  In this job, there have been several times when I've felt that way.  The worst time was when Daniel was dying of radiation poisoning, and there was nothing I could do to stop it.  Now, I'm feeling that way again."  Sam turned to Jack.  "This shouldn't be happening, Colonel.  What Daniel can do is incredible.  It should be a blessing, something that could really help us out there.  But, instead, it's turning out to be a curse, one that might take Daniel away from us again."  Sam's hands clenched into fists.  "Dammit!  I am just so angry!"

"I am, too, Carter.  You have no idea how angry.  But I'm not ready to give up yet."

"Me neither, sir.  I just wish that we really could go back in time and change everything."

"Well, Major, if you figure out a way to predict solar flares, I'll be the first to jump through the gate."

Hammond gave permission for Sam and Teal'c to accompany Daniel and Jack on the flight, but he made it clear that they were not to go all the way to the White House.  Though Sam wished that she could be there with Daniel to express her thoughts to the president, she was happy that she could at least be there with him on the flight over.  Sam had a terrible feeling that their time with Daniel was running short, and she wanted to spend every minute she could in his company.  And, if worse came to worst, if the president went along with the wishes of either Colonel Morrison or Major Rice, then it would be up to all of them, all of SG-1, to decide how they were going to help Daniel stay out of the clutches of the NID and DOD.

The next morning, SG-1 was on their way.  The "special military transport" turned out to be a fully equipped Lear jet with, as Jack put it, all the bells and whistles.  Unfortunately, none of them were in the mood to appreciate the accouterments.

At the airport, Daniel and Jack got in the limo that was waiting for them.  Jack would be giving Sam a call as soon as the meeting with the president was over and they were on their way back to the airport.

Lunch at the White House was delicious, though Daniel barely tasted the food he put in his mouth.  They were alone in the dining room, the president having been unable to join them.  The lack of Secret Service agents in the room led Daniel to believe that no one had told them what he was capable of doing.  If they'd known, they would probably be watching him like a hawk.  Not so very many years ago, nobody would have considered him a dangerous man by any stretch of the imagination.  Now, armed men who were highly trained to protect the President of the United States would likely consider him to be an extreme threat, if they knew the truth about him.

At 1:30 on the dot, Jack and Daniel were taken to the president.  The man greeted them both with a smile.

"Colonel O'Neill, good to see you again," he said, shaking Jack's hand.

"Likewise, sir."

The president held out his hand to Daniel, who took it.  "Doctor Jackson, it's also a pleasure to see you again.  I never did thank you face to face for the great job you did on the Earth/Tok'ra alliance treaty.  This country owes a great deal to you, not only for that but for many other things as well."

"Thank you, sir," Daniel responded, hoping the president's attitude was a good sign.

"All right.  Shall we get down to business?"  The president sat behind his desk and indicated that Daniel and Jack should sit as well.  He picked up a file folder.  "Doctor Jackson, I've been reading the reports from you, your teammates, General Hammond, and those I got from Colonel Morrison and Major Rice, and I have to say that I am amazed.  Hell, I'm downright astounded!  I pride myself on being an open-minded man, but when I first heard about this, I thought that someone was pulling my leg.  Of course, with all the unbelievable things that have happened since the Stargate was first opened, I guess I really shouldn't have been all that surprised, but it isn't every day that a human born right here on Earth suddenly develops paranormal abilities at the level that these reports are telling me."  The man studied Daniel closely.  "But then, it also isn't every day that an Earthborn human transforms into to a higher form of life."  He smiled.  "You've had a rather busy last couple of years, haven't you."

"Yes, sir, I have," Daniel agreed, thinking that there couldn't be a much bigger understatement than that.

The president grew serious.  He looked back down at the reports.  "It seems that both the DOD and the NID want you pretty badly."  He met Daniel's eyes.  "General Hammond has told me that you flatly refused to have anything to do with either one of them."

"That's right, sir."

"Would you like to tell me in your own words why?"

Daniel paused a moment to gather his thoughts.  "Both the NID and the DOD want the same thing, Mister President.  They want to study me to figure out how I can do these things, and then they want to use me as a weapon.  If you know anything about me, then you know that I'm someone who always looks for the peaceful solution to situations.  And you also know that I'm someone who strongly believes in the rights of individuals to live as they want to as long as it doesn't cause pain and suffering to others.  The NID and the DOD would take away my freedom and try to force me to do things that are against my principles."

The president stroked his jaw.  "Both Colonel Morrison and Major Rice believe that you could be of tremendous help to the country if you were working for them."

"Pardon me, sir, but I thought that I already was helping the country, helping the whole planet, by being with the SGC and on SG-1."

The president nodded.  "Yes, you have, Doctor Jackson.  No one has helped this planet more than you and your teammates.  However, the colonel and the major have both made a couple of very good points."

"Which are?" Jack asked.

"First of all, being on an SG team is an extremely dangerous job, very likely the most dangerous job on Earth.  A great many SG team members have died on missions."  The president looked back and forth between Jack and Daniel.  "Both of you have died more than once on missions or as a result of one.  And death is only one danger.  There is also the danger of being captured and compromised by the enemy."  His attention focused solely on the archeologist.  "You now possess abilities that are unique and very, very valuable, Doctor Jackson, and I am loath to allow them to be placed in constant peril by letting you continue in your position on SG-1.  On top of that, the danger of you being taken by the Goa'uld and your abilities then used against us is a threat that I don't know if I can accept.  At the same time, I'd hate to see those abilities go to waste by having you tucked safely away in Cheyenne Mountain as only a consultant.  Both Colonel Morrison and Major Rice have assured me that they would use your abilities in ways that would keep you relatively safe."

"Excuse me, sir, but Morrison and Rice don't give a damn about Daniel," Jack stated.  "Oh, I have no doubt that, physically, they'd keep him as safe as they could since they wouldn't want to lose his talents, but they don't care what they might do to him mentally and emotionally.  They wouldn't care if Daniel's life became unbearable for him."

"Do you have any proof to back that up, Colonel?"

"No, sir, but I saw how they acted when they came to the SGC.  And I know the type.  I've met plenty of their kind during my years in the military."

The president turned back to Daniel.  "Doctor Jackson, given the choice between working for the SGC as only a consultant, where your new abilities would be of little help to the planet, and working for the NID or the DOD in a position that would allow you to use your abilities to give aid to this country or perhaps even the whole planet, wouldn't you rather choose the latter?"

Choosing his word carefully, Daniel replied, "When I was ascended, I had incredible power, power that could have been used to do so much good out there, power to help defeat the Goa'uld and free every human being in the galaxy.  But I wasn't allowed to do a damn thing.  My hands were tied by the rules of a race that either doesn't understand or doesn't care about the threat that the Goa'uld and creatures like them pose to humankind.  When I was returned to human form and remembered what it was like to live like that, it showed me how worthless power is if you don't use it for the good of others.  And it showed me something else, that what I did for the SGC and on SG-1 was important, that it was there I belonged."  Daniel stared into the president's eyes.  "But my experience taught me something else as well, that the worth of a person cannot be weighed by their successes or failures, but by the goodness or evil of their intentions.  I have a pretty good idea what both the NID and the DOD would want to use my abilities for, Mister President, and I'm not willing to do those kinds of things."

Daniel leaned forward in his chair.  "I belong out there, sir, helping to protect Earth against the Goa'uld, and the Replicators, and other dangers we haven't even discovered yet.  But if I'm not going to be allowed to do that anymore, then I'd rather spend the next twenty years working on base at the SGC and doing whatever I could to help from there than to work for the NID or the DOD doing things that violate my principles and my worth as a human being."

There was a long moment of silence after Daniel's statement.  Jack couldn't think of another thing to add.  The question was, would the president appreciate what the archeologist was saying?

At last, the president spoke.  "I understand your point of view, Doctor Jackson, and I admire your convictions.  There is something I'd like to know, however.  If I was to order your transfer to the NID or the DOD, what would you do?"

Daniel didn't hesitate to reply.  "Respectfully, sir, I'd refuse and immediately submit my resignation from all government employment.  Though the NID or the DOD might still take me, I think they'd find it more than a little difficult to gain my cooperation."

The firmness in Daniel's voice made the president look at him intently.  Daniel knew that the man understood what he was saying, that the NID and/or DOD would have a fight on their hands.

A tiny smile curved the president's lips.  "I admire your honesty, Doctor.  I always like to know where things stand."  He fell silent for several seconds, then said, "Normally, I'd take some time to make a decision on this important an issue, but, since you've made your position so clear, I won't draw things out.  I will not force you to work for the NID or the DOD, Doctor Jackson.  This is a free country, and its citizens have rights that, even as president, I do not have the right to take away.  However, I'm afraid that I cannot let you remain on SG-1.  The danger is too great.  If you choose to continue working for the SGC, it will be as a consultant only.  You will no longer be allowed to travel through the Stargate.  Perhaps we can figure out a way to make use of your unusual talents even with those limitations."

"Sir, I ask that you please reconsider," Jack said, clearly upset.  "With these abilities Daniel now has, he's very capable of protecting himself, more so than any other person in the program.  He can put up one hell of a fight.  It wouldn't be easy for any Goa'uld to grab him, and I'm betting that his ability to miraculously survive life and death situations will be even better than it was before.  And you must know how badly we could use him out there."

The president shook his head.  "I'm sorry, Colonel, but my decision is final."

Though Daniel had been preparing himself for this decision, it still hit him hard.  He would never go through the Stargate again.  From now on, Jack, Sam and Teal'c would go without him.

Trying to keep control of his emotions, Daniel asked, "Will I be allowed to continue living off-base or am I going to be restricted to the base from now on?"

"I'm certainly not going to make you a prisoner, Doctor Jackson.  As Colonel O'Neill pointed out, you are uniquely qualified to protect yourself.  However, I would suggest that you move to someplace that has a good level of security, just to be on the safe side."

Daniel nodded shortly and stood.  "If that's all, Mister President, I'd like to get back to Colorado."

"Of course."  The man looked at him with a kindly expression.  "I am sorry, Doctor Jackson.  I understand how upset you must be, but I feel that this is the decision I must make."

With another nod, Daniel turned away and headed for the door.  He heard Jack get up and follow him.  They exited the White House and got into the limo that would take them back to the airport, their hearts heavy at the thought that Daniel would never again be setting foot through the Stargate.

Next Chapter

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